A cost-effectiveness comparison of supported employment and rehabilitative day treatment

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Recent research suggests that, for some people with severe mental illness, supported employment could improve vocational outcomes for little additional expense. This study describes the costs and client outcomes in one mental health center that converted two rehabilitative day treatment programs to supported employment. Converting from day treatment to supported employment improved vocational outcomes significantly without increasing costs. Although total costs for community treatment were lower in both sites after implementing supported employment, differences appeared to be due to decreasing unit costs over the study period. Results illustrate the importance of testing the effects of cost estimation methods on findings.